Thomson Reuters, MN Attys. Oppose Marriage Amendment

Thomson Reuters, which employs roughly 7,000 people in Minnesota, said that the proposed amendment would limit its ability to attract top talent; separately, a group of local law firm leaders said that the marriage amendment “endangers our business climate.”

Thomson Reuters is the latest major local employer to speak out against a proposed amendment to Minnesota’s constitution that would ban same-sex marriage—and separately, the leaders of seven local law firms have joined a handful of Twin Cities executives in voicing opposition to the so-called marriage amendment.

New York-based Thomson Reuters, which employs roughly 7,000 people in Minnesota and is among the state’s 25 largest employers, said Friday that it “firmly and clearly” opposes the amendment, which would change the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

In a Friday e-mail to employees, Thomson Reuters said: “As we’ve heard from employees, recruiters, and customers, one thing has been very clear: We’re a better place when we have a rich variety of perspectives, talents, backgrounds, lifestyles, and experiences in our workplace, and within the broader community from which we recruit.”

The company added: “We believe the Minnesota marriage amendment, if passed, would limit our ability to recruit and retain top talent.”

Minnesota companies have mostly remained silent about the amendment. Golden Valley-based General Mills, Inc., and Little Canada-based St. Jude Medical, Inc., have been the only other large companies to oppose it—and no major Minnesota corporations have gone on record to support it.

Until recently, few local businesspeople had spoken out on the issue either (those who have include Bill George, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Vance Opperman, John Taft, and Wheelock Whitney). But late last week, the leaders of seven well-known local law firms signed a letter expressing their personal opposition to the marriage amendment.

The letter, which appeared in the Star Tribune, said: “As a number of our state’s corporate leaders have noted, the marriage amendment endangers our business climate, signaling that ours is a community that does not welcome members of the LGBT community. This directly impacts Minnesota businesses, including law firms, which are dependent on attracting and retaining the best and brightest talent, regardless of sexual orientation.”

The letter went on to say that “it is a bad precedent to use the Constitution to deny the civil liberties of a few.”

The letter was signed by the following law firm leaders:

• Gregory P. Bulinski, CEO, Bassford Remele, P.A.
• Doug Holod, governance committee chair, Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, LLP
• Andrew G. Humphrey, managing partner, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
• Brad Keil, managing partner, Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP
• John Koneck, president, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
• Dennis M. O’Malley, managing partner, Lindquist & Vennum PLLP
• Steven A. Schumeister, managing partner, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.

In addition to vowing that they themselves would vote “no” on the marriage amendment, the leaders also encouraged their “fellow members of the bar” to join them.

Although Minneapolis-based Target Corporation hasn’t taken a stand on the marriage amendment, Target stores nationwide are reportedly selling greeting cards that celebrate same-sex marriages.

According to a Star Tribune report, the cards hit shelves in mid-June and are placed on card racks under the headings “For two special men” and “For two special women.” They include phrases like “Mr. & Mr.” and “Two very special women, one very special love.”

Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told the Star Tribune that Target offers greeting cards that appeal to a variety of audiences, including the LGBT community.

In May, Target began selling T-shirts with gay-friendly themes online—and it has pledged to donate the full purchase price of each one, up to $120,000, to the Family Equality Council.